Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stocking up the Chinese Sunday School teacher. Thu, May 31, 2007.

05/31/2007. Journal Entry. My errands were going to take me near the office where the Chinese-speaking Sunday school teacher works. He learned Mandarin while in the US Army, and had been stationed in Taiwan. He teaches an investigators' class (Gospel Essentials) in the ward where I used to live, and teaches it in Mandarin.

I stopped by his office and dropped off a couple Chinese copies of the Liahona magazine, a bilingual Chinese/English New Testament, and some Chinese language newspapers that I picked up at a North side Asian market. He reimbursed me the few dollars for the material.

The Asian markets near where the investigators live don't all have the newspapers, so I thought it might be a good gesture for him to give them to the investigators in case they haven't seen those newspapers before.

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Yoruba declined at Post Office. Thu, May 31, 2007.

05/31/2007. 828. I was at a Post Office and met up with a man from Nigeria on the way out. It was a fortuitous meeting, as I did nothing to create the encounter. I struck up a conversation by asking where he was from, and what languages he spoke, then offered him a Yoruba language Sunday school manual from the church. His next question was what church. When I said the name of the church, he indicated both verbally and with his body English that he was not interested. I didn't have the presence of mind to offer him a small sized pass-along card that I had in my wallet.

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Chinese at restaurant. Thu, May 31, 2007.

05/31/2007. 827. I had lunch at a restaurant on the Northeast side of town that I haven't been to before. I put out some of the standard stuff on my table, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and English copies of the Book of Mormon, a bilingual Chinese/English New Testament, a "Finding Happiness" DVD, a Chinese Liahona, and I was reading the corresponding English Liahona.

Once when the waitress came to refill my drink, she noticed the material, but didn't say anything, and didn't stop long enough for me to say anything.

On another trip when she came to remove a used plate, I struck up a conversation. I forget how I started, but probably asked if she spoke Mandarin or Cantonese. She ended up accepting everything, the Simplified Chinese and the English copies of the Book of Mormon, the Chinese and the English Liahonas, the bilingual New Testament, and the DVD. She was enthusiastic in accepting them too. She asked where the church was, so I showered her the flyer in one of the books, and circled the address of the nearest chapel.

She took everything over to some of the other employees, who were likely family members.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tagalog Liahonas to RMs at church. Sun, May 27, 2007

05/27/2007. Journal Entry. Last week I had given some Filipino language copies of the Book of Mormon to a couple of guys at church, who are in town working a summer job. They had both served in the Philippines.

This week, I gave them some Tagalog copies of the Liahona magazine, and a couple of corresponding English issues. One of them immediately started pouring over one of the Tagalog issues.

I suggested to them that if they keep the Filipino language copies of the Book of Mormon and the Liahona in their cars, they'll likely run into some people from the Philippines.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Missed opportunities. Tue, May 22, 2007

05/22/2007. Journal Entry. I was running errands on the West side of town near where I used to live. Before eating supper at a Chinese restaurant, I walked to the Starbucks nearby to buy a newspaper. There were some Africans sitting outside but I didn't say anything. Lately, I've been afraid that the people I approach are ones that I may have already spoken with. I haven't come up with a good conversation starter in those instances. Starting out by asking if we've spoken before, or if I've given them a book before doesn't seem to be as natural as when meeting someone for the first time.

I've been to this Chinese restaurant before, and wanted to do a follow-up, but the guy I spoke with before wasn't there. So I wasn't sure if they were new owners, or these were just family members of the other guy. I could have done a follow-up here. I think it was different owners, because the food wasn't as good as before.

When I left, one of the African guys who had been sitting in front of the Starbucks was getting something from his car which was parked next to mine. But I chickened out and it was another opportunity that I blew.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Chinese at restaurant. Mon, May 21, 2007.

05/21/2007. 826. This is the second time I've been here. The first time, back in March, I didn't have any material with me because I had emptied the car in order to move stuff. But I did chat with the owner about the videos and other stuff the church has in Mandarin and Cantonese.

I stopped there for supper tonight, and recognized the owner/hostess, and she recognized me too. I guess I was over-anxious and talked to her about the material as soon as she showed me to a table. I offered, and she accepted a couple of multi-lingual DVDs, Together Forever, and Finding Happiness. She also accepted a Simplified Script Chinese Book of Mormon and an English Book of Mormon.

Later on, I saw her husband flipping through the Chinese Book of Mormon.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Stocking up elders at church. Sun, May 20, 2007

05/20/2007. Journal Entry. Our missionaries get only 10 copies of the English Book of Mormon every 6 weeks from the mission office. If they need any more, they are supposed to get them from the ward mission leader or members in the ward (or sent from their family.)

I gave our ward's full-time missionaries (elders) five English copies today, along with some food.

I try to give them a combination of nutritious food, but also some snack food that would not normally be in their food budget. One of our missionaries is a former Marine who served in Iraq until he was wounded. Yesterday (Sat), at a Big Lots (close out) store, I saw "Hooah!, Soldier Fuel", and had to get some for him and his companion.

Other stuff included: Pringles potato chips, salsa, diet soft drinks, lemonade mix, jello mix, ramen noodles, fruit/gummy type candy, noodles, beef jerky, a can of La Choy Beef Chow Mein; all stuff at a discounted price at Big Lots.

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Liahonas to RM at church. Sun, May 20, 2007.

05/20/2007. Journal entry. While waiting in the foyer after church, I met an RM, just four months off his mission, who served a Cambodian-speaking mission in Boston.

He was happy when I told him of the several Cambodians I've met in town, so I gave him the locations where I've met a Cambodian waitress, a Cambodian shop owner, and a Cambodian employee of a grocery store. He had heard of the Cambodian waitress, and been trying to look up the restaurant in order to eat there, and that was where I ate last week.

I'm out of Cambodian Liahonas, but I gave him two issues of the Liahona in the language spoken by the owners of that restaurant, and an English edition that corresponds to one of the others.

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English, Tagalog, Bikolano, Ilokano to RM's at church. Sun, May 20, 2007.

05/20/2007. Journal Entry. A bunch of 20-something members have moved to town for summer sales jobs, and are attending our ward. Two of them are RM's who served in the Philipines. One's mission language was Tagalog, and the other Bikolano. Last week I gave them the names/addresses of a couple of Filipino owned stores/markets in town, and said I'd get them some Filipino Books of Mormon to give out if/when they encounter any Filipinos.

Today, I gave the one a Bikolano, a Tagalog, and two English Books of Mormon, and an English KJV Bible. I gave the other a Tagalog, and two English Books of Mormon, and an English KJV Bible. The latter said he met someone in the past week who spoke Ilokano. I asked if he could find them again when he's back in that neighborhood. He said yes, so I went out to the car and retrieved an Ilokano Book of Mormon along with another English copy from the car and gave them to him.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Korean at restaurant. Sat, May 19, 2007.

05/19/2007. 825. After the cookout for Single Adults, I stayed around in that city a while to kill time until supper. There are several ethnic restaurants there, and I picked out an Asian one that I remember had Korean employees from my last restaurant-run to that city.

I sat down, ordered, and then went to wash up. But before leaving the table, I put out a couple Korean Liahonas and an English Liahona.

When I got back, the waitress had already brought my drink. I could tell that someone had looked at the Korean Liahona since it was now on top, whereas before it was under the English, with just the title showing. I then got out a Korean and another language Book of Mormon in case anyone spoke that other language.

When she brought some of my other food, she asked about the magazines, and I showed them to her and offered her the Korean, which she accepted. I offered her the Korean Book of Mormon too, but she declined. But she did accept the DVD "Finding Happiness" which has audio tracks in Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and English. When I offered the corresponding English issue of the Korean Liahona that I gave her, she politely declined it.

So she ended up with one Korean Liahona magazine, and one DVD. I hope there was a pass-along card and/or info-flyer in the DVD case. I usually put one in, but I didn't double check it.

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English and Chinese to missionaries. Sat, May 19, 2007.

05/19/2007. Journal Entry*. I attended a cookout for Single Adults at an LDS chapel in a city outside of Indianapolis. Like most church stuff, there was excess food, so when a couple of full-time elder missionaries stopped by, they got to fill up.

I asked if they needed any copies of the Book of Mormon, and they asked for five. So I gave them five English copies, and an English KJV paperback Bible (from Int'l Bible Society), which they said they could use. I also gave them three church DVDs, one of which they haven't seen yet, The Testaments, of One Fold and One Shepherd.

I asked if they ever went to Chinese restaurants, and I told them a little about my placement efforts. I also gave them a Simplified Chinese, a Traditional Chinese, and another English Book of Mormon to give out at a Chinese restaurant. I explained a little about the difference between Simplified and Traditional Chinese. I don't know how much sank in, but they seemed to catch on to the idea.

*(I don't number the contact unless I offer something to a non-member.)

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Punjabi declined at gas station. Sat, May 19, 2007.

05/19/2007. 824. I stopped at a gas station to gas up the car while on a trip. The cashier spoke with a Middle-eastern/South-Asian accent. There was no one in line behind me to I had opportunity to talk a bit. I deviated from my normal approach, because I thought I had already offered him material before, so I asked if I had given him a Book of Mormon before, and he said I hadn't. I asked what languages he spoke, and he said Punjabi. When I offered one, he politely declined. I didn't say "free" up front, and may have forgotten entirely, so he may have thought I was selling it.

I also misspoke. There is no Punjabi Book of Mormon, but there is a Punjabi Gospel Fundamentals, which I had in the car.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Vietnamese declined. Thu, May 17, 2007.

05/17/2007. 823. I was working out at a fitness center on a treadmill. A young Asian man got on the treadmill and we struck up a conversation. He's originally from Vietnam. We talked a bit about Vietnam, a local Vietnam veterans group, and some local Vietnamese restaurants. I eventually offered him a Vietnamese Book of Mormon, but he politely declined. I did give him my calling card with my name/phone/email, and also the web site and the phone # for the local Vietnam Veterans group in case his father, who also lives in town, would be interested in visiting with them, or speaking at one of their meetings.

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Please donate Bibles to soldiers, through Int'l Bible Society

05/17/2007. In a recent International Bible Society catalog, they say that there is a demand for Bibles among our soldiers and Chaplains serving overseas that IBS is not able to completely fulfill due to insufficient donations.

You can donate online to their Military Chaplain Bible Fund at:

Contributions are tax-deductible. Bibles cost $3.50 including shipping overseas. So for every $3.50 you donate, someone can get a Bible.

You can also mail your donation to: (send check or money order, don't send actual Bibles)
Military Chaplains Fund
International Bible Soceity
PO Box 35700
Colorado Springs, CO 80935-9881
There are 5 styles of IBS Bibles that the Chaplains can choose from, four English and one Spanish. They are a special size that fits in the cargo pocket of the battle dress uniform. The "helps" or extra-biblical material printed in the volume were written and approved by military chaplains. Cover designs for different branches of the military are available. The covers are durable. They use the New International Version, which is the most popular contemporary English translation.

You can also call in your donation or ask questions about the program, at 800-987-3595.

I buy a lot of foreign language Bibles and inexpensive paperback Bibles from IBS. I believe they are a very reputable outfit.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cambodian at Asian restaurant. Tue, May 15, 2007.

05/15/2007. 822. I stopped for lunch at an Asian restaurant that I haven't been to before. I gave some books to a friend to take there, and I think she placed them, but I don't remember exactly. So assuming that they already had the Book of Mormon, I took in some Liahona magazines in that language, along with the corresponding English issues.

I got there towards the end of the lunch rush. There were a lot of people in the dining room, and the one waitress was moving pretty quickly to serve everyone.

By the time I finished eating and paid, all but one other table had emptied, so I had an opportunity to ask if she liked to read in _______. She said that she didn't read _______, so I asked her where she was from, and she said Cambodia. I offered her a Book of Mormon in Cambodian. She agreed to see it, so I said I'd get it from my car. I went out and got it and an English copy and brought them in.

She seemed genuinely glad to see something in Cambodian, but she kept calling it a Mormon Bible. Maybe the word for "book" that is in the Cambodian title of the "Book of Mormon" is the one used for Bible, as is the Chinese. Anyway, she also accepted the English copy to go with it.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

French, Hausa at store. Sun, May 13, 2007

05/13/2007. 821. I'm not a morning person. I admit I use caffeine, in pill form, to make it through the Sunday meetings. I usually take 1/2 tablet (100 mg) before leaving home, and then a couple of 1/4 tablets (50 mg) during meetings. This morning I forgot to take some before leaving home, and my pocket pill box only had a single 1/4 tablet. I kept nodding off during sacrament meeting, so right afterwards I went down the street to a grocery store to get some caffeine tablets.

On my way out of the store, there was a man at the store's office counter. He appeared and sounded like he was from Africa. I kind of did a double take, and kept on walking, but went back and approached him, and asked what languages he spoke. He said French. I asked where he was from and he said Niger. I asked if he spoke Hausa, and he said yes. I offered him the Sunday School manual (Gospel Fundamentals, or it's previous title Gospel Principles Simplfied) in Hausa, for free, and he agreed to see it. I said I'd meet him outside, or come back in.

I went out to my car and got the Hausa Gospel Fundamentals. I was out of the English version in my car, but had some back home. I also got out French and English copies of a paperback New Testament, French and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and some recent French and English copies of the Liahona.

Just as I was going back in, he came out and we met outside. He said he already had a Bible, but he accepted the other material. His main language is "Gurma", but the church doesn't have anything in that language.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Chinese declined, at restaurant. Sat, May 5, 2007.

05/05/2007. 820. On the way to the evening session of Stake Conference, I stopped at a Chinese restaurant. After I sat down, another member came in. He attends the other ward (congregation) that shares the same building with the ward that I attend. He ended up joining me at my table. When the waitress brought my food, she was moving too fast to say anything. But when she cleared the plates I was able to ask which dialect she spoke and offer her a Book of Mormon and a DVD. She did look inside the book but politely declined both the book and the DVD. I also had a bilingual Simplified Chinese/English New Testament from the International Bible Society on the table.

The brother who joined me said he sometimes goes to a Chinese restaurant in his town, so I gave him a copy of both Chinese editions of the Book of Mormon, a traditional Chinese edition, and a Simplified Chinese edition, and a hard-cover English copy.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

LDS videos to round out PBS' "The Mormons".

What do Mormons really believe? I was somewhat disappointed that the things I wanted to see didn't appear in the recent PBS 4-hour long presentation of "The Mormons."

The following DVDs from the LDS church (between 3 and 3.5 hours total combined running time) give what I think are the basics of LDS belief in God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Links go to the Distribution Center web site where you can purchase copies.*

Listed in the order in which I would present them:

1. The Restoration. **This video recording recounts how Joseph Smith's search for truth led to the First Vision and the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It portrays the religious atmosphere in the early 1800s and the conditions that led to Joseph Smith's determination to enter the Sacred Grove. It is ideal for members and missionaries to share with family, neighbors, friends, and investigators. 20 min. Price: $2/each. Case of 50: $1.18/each.

2. Our Heavenly Father's Plan. This video recording gives a brief introduction to the principles in the plan of salvation through words, pictures, and music. 29 min. Price: $4.50/each. Case of 50: $1.50/each.

3. Special Witnesses of Christ. This video recording features members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve declaring their personal witness of Jesus Christ. Filmed in such locations as Jerusalem, the Sacred Grove, and Nauvoo. This recording was filmed prior to the calling of Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Bednar. 65 min. Price: $4.50/each. Case of 50: $1.50/each.

4. Together Forever. This video recording contains thoughts, pictures, and music centered on the eternal nature of the family. It is ideal for members to use in helping nonmembers feel the Spirit and prepare to receive the missionary discussions. 25 min. Price: $4.50/each. Case of 50: $1.18/each.

5. An Introduction to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This DVD gives an overview of the beliefs, purpose, and mission of the Church. Chapter/section headings are: Missionary Work, Core Beliefs, Humanitarian Service, History, Temples and Meetinghouses, Role of the Family, Church Organization, A Code of Health, Church Education, Arts and Culture, Family History, Church Headquarters. Price: $4.50/each. Case of 50: $1.50/each.

For the printed word, if someone wants to know what the official beliefs of the LDS church are, I would of course recommend the scriptures, and Gospel Principles, the Sunday school manual.

* Purchasing items from the LDS Salt Lake Distribution Center does not put you on any mailing list, and you will not receive any calls or visits from anyone in the missionary department. They do not check to see if you are a member (unless you try to buy temple clothes or garments). So if you want to "secretly" buy reading material or videos from the Mormon church, and don't want anyone to know, and don't want to be bothered by missionaries, go ahead and order stuff from They ship to PO boxes if you want to ensure privacy that way.

** Descriptions of videos are taken from the web site.

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Arabic to elders. Thu, May 3, 2007.

05/03/2007. Journal entry. Last night the elders (missionaries) in our ward called to ask for an Arabic Book of Mormon for an investigator. So this morning I took over an Arabic Book of Mormon, a hard-cover English copy, an Arabic Gospel Principles, an English Gospel Principles, and an Arabic Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Farsi ( Persian ) at store. Wed, May 2, 2007.

05/02/2007. 819. Farsi (Persian) at store. I'd like to give more details, but out of respect for privacy, I don't want to give enough detail that would identify the store or the person I met. Local LDS leaders, both stake and mission, know who I am, and if they read this and want more information, they can contact me for more information. This was a really cool guy, but I didn't get his name.

I was on my way home from having lunch at the Chinese restaurant mentioned in the previous blog entry. Not far from home, I stopped by this one store because I had a $2 off coupon for any purchase, and my errands took me right by it on my way home. I went in looking for stuff I needed anyway, and browsed their store flyer. I'm in the process of building up a year's supply of food and consumables, so I'm currently a little flexible about what I can buy.

I was browsing some products, and heard a cool accent around the corner. I couldn't tell if the people talking were employees or customers or both. As I was studying which combination of stuff to buy that was on sale and with coupons, I somehow forgot to go around the corner to check out who was talking.

Anyway, when I checked out, the cash register printed a coupon for a competing product to one that I bought, and since I was stocking up anyway I decided to buy that product and use the coupon right there. After paying I took my purchases out to my car and went back in. The guy with the accent was still talking around the corner, and after I picked up the other products, I went around to where he was. And in a break in their conversation, I said he had a cool accent, and asked where he was from. He said Iran. I asked if he spoke Farsi, and he said yes.

I then asked if he were Muslim or Christian. He said Muslim. I said the reason I asked was that my church had a free book in Farsi called the Book of Mormon. He was very interested in seeing it. He said he used to live in _____, and had visited ____, and even went to a Temple open house. I said I had the Farsi Book of Mormon in my car, and asked if he'd be there for a few more minutes, and he said yes, so I said I'd be right back after paying.

I went up front and paid, and took the stuff out to my car, and got a Farsi and an English Book of Mormon from the car, and went back in.

He happily accepted the books, and started to flip through the Farsi one, and asked where there was a Mormon church. I showed him the flyer that has the list of chapels in the books, and also said my card was in there if he had any questions.

He probably would have chatted some more, but I didn't want to take up more of his time since he was on the job.

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Chinese at restaurant. Wed, May 2, 2007.

05/02/2007. 818. Last night, the sister missionaries in my old ward on the other side of town called and asked for an Amharic Book of Mormon. They were going to have a missionary discussion today with an Amharic-speaking family, so they wanted me to drop it off at the ward building downtown. That ward building is only about 20 to 25 minutes away, so I dropped it off at the arranged spot.

While on my way home, I was thinking about where to have lunch, and I had the idea to check out one convenience store for a possible book placement. It was one of those feelings that could have just been my own idea, or it could have been inspiration. I couldn't tell, but I've learned to act on those ideas anyway.

I had shopped there before, and did not offer anything to the Indian couple who ran it. I stopped there and didn't see them.

Once back in the car, I had the idea to drive a certain direction. This time, the impressions were a bit stronger. Though still not reaching the "obvious" level, the feelings or impressions about where to drive were kicked up a notch. It was not out of my way, but just another way to get home.

I went past a drug store for which I had a coupon, so I stopped by to use it and buy something I needed. I got another coupon printed for me at the cash register so I went back in to use it. If I don't use those coupons quickly, I forget about them and they expire.

Back in the car again, the feeling about where to drive was increased yet again. It's hard to draw a line between "faith" and "obvious", but I've learned that we should act on faith (although I still often chicken-out or ignore those feelings), and not wait until impressions or whisperings from the Holy Ghost reach the "obvious" level. There are blessings when you act on faith. Cool things happen when you act on faith. It pleases Heavenly Father, and we grow from it. Acting at the "faith" level (not waiting until we "know" or the impressions become "obvious") also makes us grow spiritually so that we improve out ability to act on those impressions in the future.

That part of town is not new to me, but it's been a long time since I drove along that particular part of that street. I knew there was a little shopping center off to the side, I've been there years before, and felt like that was where I was supposed to go. It's the kind of shopping center that usually has a restaurant or two, but I didn't remember if it had any.

I drove once around the shopping center, and found a Chinese restaurant that I haven't been to before. That's no big deal since most strip malls or shopping centers have a restaurant, and many of them are Chinese. But it's nice that it matched up with the impressions I was having.

I had the buffet lunch, and set out some books and a DVD on my table. They seemed busy in the kitchen, and didn't come by to take my used plates. I read my newspaper a little after I finished eating, waiting for an opportunity to speak, but no one came by.

One of the workers, who was probably the co-owner with her husband, was at the counter, so I picked up my stuff and decided to make a presentation on my way out.

I asked her if she liked to read Chinese and she said yes. I asked if she was from Taiwan or Mainland China, and she said Mainland China. I showed her a bilingual Simplified Chinese/English New Testament, and a Simplified Chinese Book of Mormon. She was definitely interested.

She spoke English well, but said she didn't read English. However, when I opened both copies of the Book of Mormon to 1 Nephi 1:1 and read part of it, she quickly captured the idea of reading them in parallel to help learn English, so she also accepted the English copy.

I also offer the Together Forever DVD and a Finding Happiness DVD. The Together Forever DVD has a Cantonese audio track, but not a Mandarin audio track, but it does have Chinese subtitles that a Mandarin-speaking person can read. She said her husband is from Hong Kong and speaks Cantonese, so that makes it cool, and she accepted both DVDs.

The Together Forever DVD is a great couples video.

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Amharic to sister missionaries. Wed, May 2, 2007.

05/02/2007. Journal Entry. The sister missionaries in my old ward on the other side of town called last night and asked for an Amharic Book of Mormon. They were going to have a missionary discussion today with an Amharic-speaking family, so they wanted me to drop it off at the ward building downtown. That ward building is only about 20 to 25 minutes away, so I dropped it off at the arranged spot.

I also left them a hard-cover English Book of Mormon, an Amharic Gospel Fundamentals (Sunday School manual), an English Gospel Fundamentals, and an Amharic copy of the Jospeh Smith Testimony pamphlet.

Good things happen when you help out the missionaries, as the next two blog entries illustrate.